If you’ve noticed I haven’t said anything about the 3 parties I hosted over the weekend – Lily’s school birthday party on Friday, their joint party on Sunday, and Stella’s school celebration on Monday. I needed to catch up on my work life. And I needed to let some time pass before I could write this.
Lily’s little school party went well. The Sunday party was wonderful. Kids had so much fun. I went overboard and became with inefficient, so I was a bit stressed. But the looks on the faces of the kids were just priceless. Those parties deserve a blogpost and I will work on that. By Sunday night I was just pooped. But we still had a Monday party for little Stella.
I figured, there’d be nothing to worry about for Stella’s party. I would be simple and stress-free. I got a cake from a chain bakery and packed fried chicken meals from McDonald’s, just like Lily’s a few days before. All I wanted to do was show up and take pictures of Stella blowing her candles. We only had a 30 minute window – from 11:00 to 11:30 – to sing, blow the candles and eat. I sent the driver and one yaya to pick up the food at 10:30am. And here’s where the nightmare began.
At 11:00 our party was about to start and the food and cake were not at school yet. I phoned my driver. The cake was ready but the meals were not. “What do you mean there’s no food?” My knees went weak, my voice went high, my heart was throbbing so fast. “Mam, nakalimutan ng McDo yung order natin.” 3…2…1… I will spare you the details of what went on. To make a long story short, we got our packed meals past 11:30. A lot of the kids didn’t get to eat. They brought the chicken rice meals home.
The rest of the hour was a blur. I don’t remember what Stella did. I know she was cute and happy because while my head was spinning like Linda Blair waiting for the food to come, she was dancing around. At one point she pullled my hand and wanted me to dance with her. She was the only kid dancing. We dance a lot at home. But I couldn’t “be there” for her. I couldn’t even take her pictures. I was dealing with a pressing issue – the food.
I’m sure fiascos like this happen with other restaurants – fast food or not. I’m not the first and only person this has happened to. It was an unfortunate situation. But I couldn’t let this week pass without putting this out there. Especially since up to now I’m having a hard time writing a decent Stella birthday post.
So I’m trying to learn from this. And I figured I’d write this, not to bash a brand, but so I could learn and move on. The first thing I did after the incident was to write a formal complaint letter. I emailed it through their website – with no specific person or contact. I wrote the incident in detail. The next day, I got an email from the branch manager. I told her I wanted to hear from the corporate level. I felt this was more than a branch issue. So I heard from the head of consumer services, and still I wasn’t ready to talk. I was still very upset.
What did I learn?
1. It’s time to do homemade packed lunches for birthday parties. No more big chain quick orders.
2. Working moms & dads who order from chains like this should phone them the night before or the morning of, to reconfirm orders – because it’s never a sure thing.
3. Always write formal complaint letters through proper channels, not just through blogs. And I hope if and when you do, you get a proper response from them.
4. Try not to let these little glitches ruin your kid’s day – obviously this is something I need to work on.
A day after I rejected the head of consumer services’ apology, the president of the corporation emailed me a humble apology. I read and re-read it. I was clear about not asking for a refund or a re-do. And even more clear about not having anyone fired. It took me a whole day to figure out what to say back. At the end of the day, I accepted his apology. And now I’m working on trying to forget this.
Nothing can really replace lost moments. I’m still trying to rebuild memories from Stella’s 2nd birthday party. I still owe her a birthday story.